WONDER WOMAN – A WIN for XX CHROMOSOMES
Last week’s e-mail to my friend, Sara: “I’m going to the Wonder Woman movie tomorrow afternoon. You interested?”
Her prompt reply, “Meet you at 4:30pm at the Isis.”
(Disclosure: ISIS, the ancient Egyptian goddess of women, health, and wisdom, played many roles in history and mythology. Aspen’s ISIS theatre opened its doors in 1915. No name change anticipated.)
Although Wonder Woman, created by Harvard psychologist William Moulton Marston, materialized as a fictional feminist icon in 1941, I have no memory of her until actress Lynda Carter starred in the WW television series from 1975-79. By then I was married, had children, a job and zero interest in magic belts or golden lassos.
Now, in 2017, and what seems like a Lifetime later, I’m as intrigued by her creator, W. M. Marston, as the fictional heroine herself. You see Marston, who invented the first functional lie detector polygraph, was a male feminist and believed ‘the future of humankind lay in the hands of women.’
A man ahead of his time, WW was his response to the comic hero Superman. Actress Carter herself referred to WW as a woman’s woman, saying that either you “wanted to be her, or be her best friend.”
During it’s debut week WW lassoed worldwide box office earnings of $223 million. Sara and I purchased 2 of those tickets. We both loved it and went home to “text” our five granddaughters about it. My Emma and Clara went with their Mom the following night. Melissa called to say she “loved, loved, loved it. I would not have left Themyscira,” she sighed. (Themyscira is the fictional island home of the Amazons where WW grew up).
“I sorta see myself in Robin Wright’s role as General Antiope” I told Melissa.
“Mom,” she said, “I was saving that role for myself but I’ll give it up for you.”
Go. See. This. Film. If Wonder Woman ever runs for office, she has my Vote.
A MENU TO PLEASE AMAZON WARRIOR WOMEN
Monday I hosted a luncheon for the Valley Vixens, my nature study group. For the past 4 years we’ve been trying to improve our knowledge of the outdoors. For example, in the past year we studied, among other subjects, our very endangered bees and bats. At our July meeting we’re discussing “The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World” by Peter Wohlleben. We’ll take our summer field trip to Rocky Mountain National Park for a Birding the Life Zones class.
This party was our first chance in several months to be together and celebrate two important birthdays. Channeling Wonder Woman, I planned a tasty menu (semi-paleo) that would even please the palates of the Amazons, the mythical warrior women who raised WW. Besides Donna Grauer’s oft-requested Gazpacho, I made Farro Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Smoked Mozzarella & Mint, French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese & Walnuts, our Cook-the-Book Fridays choice, and Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches. I baked a French Yogurt Cake for the birthday gals.
As proof that this menu not only pleases the Amazon in all of us, my friends took the leftovers home to their husbands.
FRENCH LENTIL SALAD with GOAT CHEESE and WALNUTS from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz
Serves 4 to 6
1 1/2 cups French green lentils (preferably from Le Puy)
1 bay leaf
5 sprigs thyme
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
1 rib celery, finely diced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil or walnut oil
1 small shallot, peeled and minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 cup crumbled fresh or slightly aged goat cheese or feta cheese
1. Rinse the lentils and put them in a saucepan with plenty of lightly salted water, the bay leaf, and the thyme. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Add the finely diced vegetables and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Be careful not to overcook them.
2. While the lentils are cooking, make the dressing. Mix the vinegar, salt, mustard, oil, and shallot in a large bowl.
3. Drain the lentils well and mix them into the dressing while still warm, stirring to coat the lentils. Remove the bay leaf and thyme and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
4. Add a few grinds of black pepper and mix in the parsley, chopped nuts, and goat cheese. Taste, and add additional salt, if desired.
1. Serve this salad at room temperature or warm. If served warm, omit the goat cheese or crumble it on top at the last minute, so it doesn’t melt—but instead, slightly softens.
2. The salad can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated. Let it come to room temperature before serving. It may need to be re-seasoned once refrigerated.
3. Lentils adapt so use what’s on hand. Mix-and-match different herbs, nuts, and cheese
FARRO SALAD with CHERRY TOMATOES, SMOKED MOZZARELLA and MINT
from Dinner, Changing the Game by Melissa Clark
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
2 cups farro
4 teaspoons sherry vinegar or cider vinegar, plus more to taste
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
6 ounces smoked mozzarella, cubed
½ cup torn fresh mint leaves
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Lemon wedges, for serving
1. Bring a medium pot of heavily salted water to a boil and add the farro. Simmer until tender, usually 15 to 35 minutes, though some varieties can take up to an hour (replenish the water if the level runs low).
2. Drain the farro, and while it is still warm, stir in the vinegar and ½ teaspoon fine sea salt. Let the farro cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. (Or cook the farro up to 8 hours ahead and keep it at room temperature.)
3. Sprinkle the cherry tomatoes with the remaining ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, and then stir them into the farro along with the mozzarella, mint, and olive oil. Season heavily with black pepper. Taste, and add more salt and/or vinegar if needed, and a squeeze of lemon for brightness.
1. Generously salt the cooking water so the farro can thoroughly absorb the seasonings as it softens and swells.
2. Allow for the salad to be mixed together up to four hours ahead. Just drizzle with a little more good olive oil right before serving.
3. I made the farro and refrigerated it overnight, after letting it cool as specified in Direction #2. The next morning I added the other ingredients per #3, and let it get to room temperature.
The Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches are from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten. The recipe for Bon Appetit’s French Yogurt Cake is here.
Cook-the-Book Fridays is an international group cooking its way virtually through My Paris Kitchen, a cookbook by David Lebovitz. Interested in CtBF, go here.